A naval update

As I have mentioned before, the U.S. Navy has had a series of horrible events resulting in numerous deaths and injuries as well as significant damage to ships in the Pacific Fleet.  The ongoing response to these events, and the questions they raise about naval operations lead to firings all the way up to and including the then-head of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

In the latest news, five officers that were involved in two of the collisions are facing charges of negligent homicide.  Next comes a hearing to decide if the officers will be brought before a court-martial.  In two separate incidents, the collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain claimed the lives of 17 sailors.  Other charges and administrative actions are also being brought against other lower-level crew on the ships.

A report released by the Navy late last year said that both of these collisions, as well as a ship grounding and a third collision were all avoidable.  Another report details numerous changes to be made to address many aspects of training as well as crew sleep and stress management.

Apalling performance at sea.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve never served in any branch of the military and the most I have been out to sea is a whale watch trip over thirty years ago.  So yeah, I don’t know jack all about operating a naval warship.

Having said all of that, I still think it is fair of me to say that there is something wrong with the US Navy, especially in the Pacific. Let us review some highlights from 2017 so far:

  • 1/31/2017 USS Antietam runs aground in Tokyo Bay
  • 5/9/2017 USS Lake Champlain collides with a South Korean fishing boat
  • 6/17/2017 USS Fitzgerald collides with a container ship, 7 sailors lost their lives
  • 8/21/2017 USS John S. McCain collides with a tanker,  10 sailors missing at the time of this writing

According to the Washington Post, the Navy has ordered a “fleetwide review of seamanship and training.”  Well, duh!  I should hope so.  Right now the Navy in the Pacific looks more like F Troop Goes to Sea than the competent, seasoned professionals they are supposed to be.

I don’t know what the problems are, but I hope they successfully address them quickly.